Black Monday takes toll on NFL coaches
American football:Heads continued to roll across the National Football League as four franchises fired their head coaches for failing to make the play-offs on what has become known as Black Monday
Philadelphia Eagles’ Andy Reid, Buffalo Bills’ Chan Gailey, Cleveland Browns’ Pat Shurmur and Chicago Bears’ Lovie Smith were all relieved of their duties following the final weekend of the regular season.
The 5-11 Browns, who closed out the season on Sunday with a 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, were among the first to begin house cleaning by announcing Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert had both been relieved of their duties.
The news was quickly followed by the 6-10 Bills confirming they had sacked Gailey and the 4-12 Eagles announcing Reid was being relieved of his duties after 14 years in charge.
Reid’s departure had been widely expected but still came as shock to many after a mostly successful tenure in Philadelphia leading the Eagles to six NFC East titles, five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl appearance in 2004.
His 140 victories are a franchise record and rank 22nd on the all-time NFL coaching list. But a bitterly disappointing 2012 campaign that ended in 42-7 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday signalled to owner Jeffrey Lurie that is was time for a change.
“Andy Reid won the most games of any head coach in Eagles’ history and he is someone I respect greatly and will remain friends with for many years to come,” said Lurie in a statement. “But, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction. Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon and we are very excited about the future.”
Black Monday began with the Jacksonville Jaguars announcing they had fired general manager Gene Smith and was followed by the New York Jets dumping GM Mike Tannenbaum.
The Jets, however, ended the speculation swirling around Rex Ryan by confirming the under-fire head coach would be back next season.
“Rex Ryan will remain the head coach of our football team. I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team,” said Jets owner Woody Johnson on the team’s website.
After a tumultuous 6-10 season, overshadowed by a quarterbacking controversy around the use of incumbent Mark Sanchez and polarising Tim Tebow, Ryan was widely expected to pay for the Jets under-achieving results with his job.
With Ryan back for next season the speculation will now centre on the futures of Sanchez and Tebow in New York.
The Jets’ sputtering offence ranked 30th among 32 teams, generating an average of just 299 yards per game.
Changes had been expected in Jacksonville after the toothless Jaguars finished the season tied with Kansas City Chiefs for the NFL’s worst record (2-14).
“Now it is time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to begin a new chapter,” new owner Shahid Khan said in a statement. “We're not looking back. I've made it clear from day one that we pledge nothing less than to deliver the first Super Bowl championship to Jacksonville.”